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Israeli Doctors Help African Children Smile

November 23, 2022

by: Kate Norman

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Surgeons performing maxillofacial surgery (illustrative)

Wednesday, 23 November 2022 | Two Israeli doctors are making a difference for children in Equatorial Guinea by performing complex surgeries and providing local doctors with support and technology to perform the operations by themselves.

Drs. Oded Nahlieli and Michael Abba recently returned from another trip to the central African nation, where they performed dozens of successful surgeries on children, mostly under the age of 10.

The maxillofacial surgeries are complex and involve reconstructing the face, whether from trauma or birth defects. For example, one of the surgeries from their recent trip involved treating a six-year-old boy with a jaw problem that prevented him from opening his mouth and being able to eat for four years. However, following the surgery, he could smile and eat just like other children.

Nahlieli and Abba have been traveling to Equatorial Guinea to perform these complex surgeries since 2014, Israel21c reported. They do not charge for their services, and the hospital pays for their flights and provides them with CT scans of the patients in order to build 3D models to practice on before the surgery.

The doctors usually travel to Equatorial Guinea three times per year, performing much-needed surgeries for about 10 days.

However, these doctors were grounded during the pandemic and barred from providing their life-saving services.

That is why Nahlieli and Abba on their recent trip began training local doctors to use ORVizio, an Israeli “telemedicine” technology that will allow Israeli doctors to walk the local doctors through the surgery in real time.

ORVizio is an Israeli-based start-up of which Dr. Abba is the CEO. The website describes the technology as the “best surgical video streaming using cutting edge technology, ensuring you don’t miss a thing.”

Before using ORVizio, Nahlieli told Israel21c they had to use WhatsApp to walk the local doctors through the procedures.

In addition to providing telemedical support, Nahlieli said their goal is to establish a local medical clinic to train local doctors from Equatorial Guinea as well as Cameroon and Gabon to perform the surgeries and use the ORVizio technology for help when needed.

Without the help of these Israeli doctors, patients in Equatorial Guinea who desperately need facial surgery would have to wait years for foreign specialists to come and perform the operations.

“If we do not do it, no one else will,” Nahlieli told All Israel News. “It is our privilege to come and operate on these children, many of whom have no other option. It is not like in the West where they can just go and find another hospital.

“No,” he added, “in most cases, the children will die.”

And in addition to saving lives, Nahlieli said that he and Abba “get so much joy out of seeing the children” they help. Indeed, these Israeli doctors are putting smiles back on the faces of children in Equatorial Guinea.

Posted on November 23, 2022

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 23, 2022)

Photo Credit: SSgt Wesley Farnsworth/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia